By: Douglas Reyes
Here Media Inc. is a media/advertising conglomerate focusing on the interest of LGBT consumers and viewers. PlanetOut the parent company, in affiliation with Here Network LLC, and Regent Entertainment Media Inc., united in 2009 through a contractual agreement/combination of said companies. With the help of both co-founders Paul Colichman and Stephen P. Jarchow Here Media Inc. became one of the leading advertising/media/publishing firms, focusing exclusively on the interests/concerns of the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) community. As of now, Here Media Inc. is responsible for the majority of news media (both television and periodical), social network, publishing, broadcasting network, distribution, and publication of some of the leading LGBT interest companies in the world. These include, but are limited to The Advocate (periodical), Alyson books (publishing), here! (T.V. broadcasting network), gay.com (social network), gay.net (online periodical venue), and out.com (online venue, covering lifestyle, travel, style and fashion interests of the LGBT community). However, with that being said, mainstream advertising and television media is a bit cumbersome in support of conventionalization of LGBT media, and advertising as a whole within the spectrum of mainstream television.
In recent years, we have witnessed an insignificant rise of LGBT programming within the conventional field of media and television. However, as both a viewer and consumer of LGBT goods, and programming, much of the important issues and concerns of the LGBT community is either ignored or dismissed within popular media culture. This includes mainstream television, broadcast networks (televised news), and periodical media (magazine, newspaper). This in fact had a great impact on the decision of providing the LGBT community/advertisers/business moguls with a venue to publicly advertise/spread information of events relating and influencing the LGBT population. To the extremities that media/advertising/broadcasting firms had to be established as a separate entity within the diminutive advertising and media corporations of mainstream television; all of this in order to concentrate and speak on the manners/interest/concerns of the LGBT viewer and consumer? As if!
With success, must come times of great distress. In establishing a network focusing on the LGBT population, there was definitely a lack of acceptance within mainstream media. PlanetOut, parent company of Here Media Inc., has been scrutinized over the years for their lack of interest from viewers. As a publicly traded corporation it fell within the grasp of being disembarked by NASDAQ after failing to meet the required minimum for its stock market value in 2008. Will this entail the demise of LGBT media in the future? Even in its beginning stages, and as of recent LGBT media and television faces scrutiny from mainstream media, as well as the public for its lack of support, and ratings from viewers. Even LGBT identified viewers are lacking in support for these networks. Has the LGBT population been brainwashed to disregard coverage of media concerning them? Or is something else at stake/lacking. Should they blame advertisers, or management departments for the untimely demise of LGBT television? Or should they (LGBT viewers) give their undivided attention, and support to LGBT networks instead of shunning them in fear of being put in a box or labeled. We will see as LGBT television progresses from its infancy.
The segregation of both mainstream media, and LGBT concentrated media companies is probably one of the biggest factors of the lack of acceptance of LGBT people. As a people, the LGBT community is segregated and ostracized from the world of popular and conventional media/culture in support and accordance to the values and morals of the once distant puritans who set forth on a journey to this Newfoundland called America. These traditional and blatantly outdated beliefs need to be thrown where they belong… the GARBAGE! With the openness and acceptance of this newfound day and time, as a society we are still enslaved by the morals of days gone by. Why is it so hard to appropriate both mainstream culture, and LGBT culture within the same context in media? Sure they might have different takes in life, sex, morals and practices, but at the end of the day they are BOTH people with the same feelings, and desires in life! There should be no reason why LGBT matters/concerns not be covered in mainstream media, instead of resorting to the use of independent network relations/entities to spread/give the latest updates on the issues relating to the LGBT population.
One of the main concerns/topics/focus as an active viewer of both mainstream, and LGBT related media is the separation of media companies’ relating/targeting particularly to gender and race. Especially those matter specific (LGBT, and African-American, in the least LOGOTV, BET, to name a few) media companies that cater and target a specific group of people, instead of incorporating within widespread media. As stated previously within the context of this piece, why can’t these broadcasting networks cater unanimously to all (people) within the same media venue/context? Why are these networks privatized to only reach a caliber of people who are able and willing to pay for these services? Some of the people who these networks cater to cannot afford to pay premiums for television that caters to their specific needs and interests! It seems like the only media firms that are available free of charge, including ABC, NBC, FOX, to name a few, are not relatable to a number of their viewers. Therefore, there should be a unified corporation of media identities in one that caters to all groups of people from different walks of life, within the same media venue.
In a perfect world, a vision of a singular and unified conglomerate media and advertising corporation that caters to the needs/issues of every specific group of people within the same context/venue would be ideal. Until then, we must resort to what is being imposed onto us, and accept the force-feeding of conventionality. That is what is being presented to us, through our daily media experience, but until we do something about it this will remain the same. Until then keep force-feeding the segregation wagon that media has sat us on, and string along for the ride.
Gay Media in America
A Roundtable with Ann Northrop, David Badash, Andrés Duque, Michaelangelo Signorile, and Tanya Domi.
A CLAGS event at The Graduate Center, CUNY, New York City, October 2, 2013. For more information about CLAGS, see our website: http://www.clags.org.
This roundtable convenes nationally acclaimed gay media professionals to discuss and examine the role of gay media outlets in U.S. and proffer arguments about the vital importance of reporting by gay media outlets known as specialty media. The panel includes Ann Northrop (co-host of a weekly cable Gay USA television program), David Badash (publisher and editor-in-chief of The New Civil Rights Movement forum blog), Andrés Duque (publisher and editor-in-chief of the Blabbeando LGBT blog), and Michaelangelo Signorile (host of OutQ Radio and the Michaelangelo Signorile Show, who are carried by Sirius Radio XM). Tanya Domi, Director of Media Relations at the Graduate Center will moderate the panel.
Read more about this event and other CLAGS events on the website: http://www.clags.org.
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Here Media – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. (n.d.). Retrieved April 17, 2014, from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Here_Media
Is This The End of Gay Media? / Queerty. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.queerty.com/is-this-the-end-of-gay-media-20090323/
PlanetOut Faces Possible Nasdaq Delisting – On Top Magazine | Gay news & entertainment. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.ontopmag.com/article.aspx?id=2186&MediaType=1&Category=26
The Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies at The Graduate Center, CUNY | Start.” The Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies at The Graduate Center, CUNY. N.p., n.d. Web. 17 Apr. 2014. Retrieved from http://www.clags.org/